29 October 2012

Checking in from directly in the path of Hurricane/Nor'easter Sandy

The Rowhouse Livin' household's "default" status is to keep on hand enough food and necessaries for two weeks, a figure I've arrived at after considering factors like the location and construction of our home, the space we have available, and the realistically low possibility that any of our utilities would be out for an extended period. We're a two-person household of a teenager and an adult, and the household's biggest risk is that I'll be unable to leave the house due to an illness (flu, migraine) or injury (sprained ankle). I have ready-to-eat foods on hand, in the form of granola bars, tuna fish, and commercially and home-canned foods, as well as E-Z prep convenience foods, like instant noodle bowls and condensed soups.

Hurricane Sandy has added a wrinkle to our preparedness, though, because the bad news is that the storm is expected to pass almost directly through my neighborhood. It's a little nerve-wracking, because we may actually lose our power for a few days, very different from the super infrequent, super short-term outages we may get in a bad summer thunderstorm or utility accident -- like that one time a transformer blew across the street. A multi-day outage is a very unusual circumstance for us, so I took a few unusual precautions:

  • We spent much of yesterday (Sunday) doing some deep cleaning, including an extra load of laundry, running the dishwasher when it wasn't completely full, and some very eco-unfriendly bleaching in the bathroom. Now we won't run out of underwear; we have plenty of clean dishes; and, well, the bathroom is just more pleasant now that it may be getting about three times its ordinary use this week.

  • Three days ago, I started some sprouts from mung bean seeds. Yesterday, we picked up about seven pounds of apples from the farmers market. Neither the sprouts nor the apples need to be refrigerated, so we're set for the vitamins and fiber we'll need from fresh produce for a while. The first round of sprouts are ready to eat today, but they'll be better tomorrow and Wednesday.

  • Three days ago, I started making extra ice for use if the refrigerator loses power, and for drinking water. Making it on my own over the course of a few days is essentially cost-free, and, frankly, less work than hauling home sacks of ice from the grocery store or beer distributor. In addition, I already keep my freezer lightly packed with used, cleaned water bottles and plastic yogurt tubs re-filled with tap water. Though freezing isn't a big part of my pantry strategy, keeping the freezer packed with ice helps it run more efficiently. The ice cube ice is potable; and both the ice cubes and the bottles and tubs can serve as freezey packs if the electric goes and I need to empty the fridge into a couple of coolers.

  • I did my shopping way in advance. Luckily, I came to a stopping point in my work that day and could do it late in the morning. But if I'd been slammed with work all day long, I would have gone in the evening. I wanted to avoid the stress of dealing with nervous crowds and empty shelves.

  • Today, we're doing dishes by hand as we dirty them; we've plugged in all our devices (phones, laptop computers, other gadgets); and I'm knocking out this blog post before the Internet cuts out.

    And finally, I've banked up a blog post about home canning apple butter, which should publish tomorrow whether my power is out or not. Take care, and I'll see you on the flip side!
  • 1 comment:

    Jo Mathis said...

    Wow. Now I feel like we did NOTHING at all to prepare for this.

    We have edibles, although much of it is fresh produce from Saturday's farmers' market share, and most of it is edible raw. I'm washing dishes and clothes for as long as we have electricity.

    I both bought water and refilled juice containers for drinking, washing, etc. Between the farmers' market and the fridge, however, we DO have about a quarter bushel of apples. And fiber bars, and bread, and peanut butter (we already had a spare jar).

    Not so much tuna or canned meats, but we do have beans, precooked sausage in the freezer, and a gas stove. I'm hoping we don't lose everything, but we can feed ourselves, for sure.